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Millions prepare for potentially catastrophic Hurricane Florence

Millions prepare for potentially catastrophic Hurricane Florence

Tuesday, Sep 11, 2018, 5:47 am- Florence continued to roll toward the U.S. East Coast, poised to become the strongest hurricane in nearly 30 years to hit the Carolinas as more than 1 million people began fleeing a coastline that could see a 12-foot storm surge.

USC Athletics sends its thoughts and prayers to those preparing for the storm and hope that you will be safe and careful during this time.

"People need to leave now before they can't", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Some forecasts call for Florence to stall out after it strikes the coast.

If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rains to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other unsafe conditions.

South Carolina's governor ordered the state's entire coastline to be evacuated starting at noon Tuesday, and predicted that a million people would flee.

Moving into next week, Florence is expected to move slowly westward and remnants could be pulled toward southern Canada and northern New England, but it's still early and the storm could change track or fizzle out before then. The National Hurricane Center predicts a hurricane watch will likely be issued by Tuesday morning for the "extremely risky major hurricane".

Gov. Henry McMaster says he's preparing the state for winds as powerful as Hurricane Hugo, which plowed inland almost 30 years ago and caused devastating damage.

South Carolina Emergency Management will open their emergency shelters on Tuesday based on need.

Wind gusts topping 100 miles per hour are likely near and just north of where Florence approaches the coast.

Classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence was the most severe storm to threaten the US mainland this year and the first of its magnitude to target the Carolinas since 1989, when Hurricane Hugo barreled over Charleston, South Carolina.

Slow-moving storms like Harvey are getting more common.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has issued a mandatory evacuation for a portion of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore in preparation of the impact of Hurricane Florence.

The storm is expected to produce 3 to 5 inches of rain across Martinique, Dominica, and Guadeloupe, with near 10 inches possible in isolated areas, forecasters said.

The storm will pick up additional strength as it passes over ocean water with sea surface temperatures of up to 85 degrees, the National Hurricane Center said.

Navy ships off Virginia's coast were preparing to sail out of the path, a North Carolina university has already canceled classes and people have begun stocking up on plywood, bottled water and other supplies.

Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic. Describing the storm as a "no-kidding nightmare", Gerst said that he and United States astronaut Ricky Arnold captured the images with a special, super-wide-angle lens, as the storm made its way towards the east of the US.

Storm surge could be as high as 6 to 12 feet from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout on North Carolina's southeast coast. Tropical storms generate winds between 39 and 73 miles per hour, just below hurricane force. Its center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Governors in the Carolinas and Virginia already had declared emergencies, and some sought federal aid as well. The storm could soon be on the brink of a Category 5.

Customers line up to buy propane at Socastee Hardware store, ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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